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New Richmond supports nuclear weapons ban

New Richmond is now among 5,000 cities worldwide that have adopted resolutions advocating for a ban on nuclear weapons.

New Richmond High School social studies teacher Ann Scharfenberg, who traveled to Japan this summer to participate in an educational program at the Keizai Koho Center, brought a sample resolution to the New Richmond City Council on Monday night.

Scharfenberg was one of 10 U.S. educators to participate in this year's Keizai Koho Center Fellowships Program. This was the first time a teacher from Wisconsin participated in the 32-year-old program.

For much of the trip, Scharfenberg attended lectures, visited Japanese companies, toured Japanese schools and learned about the Japanese culture.

But the group's trip to Hiroshima provided the most moving moments of the experience, Scharfenberg reported to the council.

While in Hiroshima, the teachers visited the Peace Memorial Park, dedicated to those people who were killed in the atomic bombing at the end of World War II. The group also met with the mayor of Hiroshima, Kazumi Matsui, who is president of the international "Mayors for Peace" program.

In explaining the effort, Scharfenberg said Japanese officials have worked for decades to gather support for a ban on the use of nuclear weapons against human beings.

So far, the mayors of 4,984 communities in 151 different countries have approved resolutions supporting the idea. There are 151 cities in the United States that have approved similar resolutions.

The New Richmond City Council approved their own resolution 5-0.

In other business:

* The council was asked if they would agree to ring bells during the approaching holiday season to help raise money for the Salvation Army and the Grace Place homeless shelter in Somerset.

Lynn Berg from Grace Place reported that about 25 percent of the shelter's residents are from New Richmond. Currently 25 people are housed in the shelter, including 15 children.

Berg said the demand for services provided by Grace Place has grown over the years but donations have not kept pace.

During last year's Salvation Army bell ringing campaign, Berg said, enough was raised to provide service for the first 10 days of each month.

"Then we have to turn people down," she said.

Berg asked for the council, and others, to do their part this holiday season to raise more money to meet the needs of adults and children in the region.

Berg said the ultimate goal of the Grace Place program is to find families jobs and to find them housing within area communities.

* The council designated about 50 feet of parking space in front of the new Community Commons for the Head Start program to park its bus and for parents to drop off or pick up children.

* The council approved the transfer of a liquor license from the former Agate Inn to the new owners of the business. The location will now be known as Bobcats Bar & Grill, and the owner is Robert Christensen.

* The council received a plaque from the 229th Horizontal Engineering Company National Guard unit thanking the community for its support during the summer excavating training project at Hatfield Regional Park.

* The council referred a request from residents in the Casey Addition for improved street lighting and road repairs to the Street Committee. Ken Krohn said people in his neighborhood are frustrated by a couple of issues, including the dark intersection at Madison Avenue and Richmond Way.

But possibly the bigger issue is the condition of 125th Street, which provides the only access to the housing development.

Krohn said the road is in serious need of widening and resurfacing, but nothing ever seems to be done.

Mayor Fred Horne said he would contact Richmond Township officials again to see if an agreement to repair the road can be worked out. The questions about improved street lighting will be discussed by the committee.